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Posts published in March 2019

Little League season opens in North Houston with parade, games

THE LITTLE LEAGUE PARADE started at MacArthur High School, and travelled down side streets until it ended at the Little League fields at Squatty Lyons Park. Floats were judged for their appearance, and the float above, with the LADY BUMBLEBEES team members, won First Place. In all there were 14 floats in the parade, with the 14 teams that competed, and units from the EMS, Westfield Fire Department, East Aldine District, and the Sheriff’s office. See MORE LITTLE LEAGUE on page 8. (Photo by Sara Garcia)

NORTH HOUSTON – The Little League officially opened last Saturday, with a parade of teams and community units on a long trip from MacArthur High School, where they assembled, to the Little League fields in Squatty Lyons Park on East Hardy at Cromwell Roads.

Under the direction of Sara Garcia and Virginia Bazan, the parade consisted of 14 units on decorated trailers, and also a fire truck, EMS ambulance, and vehicles from the Sheriff’s office and East Aldine District.

Parade units were judged for originality and appearance, with the Lady Bumblebees, a T-Ball team, taking first place. Second place was won by the Houston Bombers, a major league team.

At the park, teams and parents had a Festival with games, food, and exhibits, helping to raise money for the teams.

HCC names Dr. Monique Umphrey next President of HCC Northeast

Dr. Umphrey will serve as the president for all of the HCC Northeast College campuses that include the North Forest Campus, Acres Homes Campus, Pinemont Center, Northline Campus, Northeast Campus, and the Automotive Technology Center.

HOUSTON (March 22, 2019) – After a nationwide search, Houston Community College (HCC) has named Dr. Monique Umphrey president of HCC Northeast, pending approval of her contract by the Board of Trustees.

Chancellor Cesar Maldonado says, “Dr. Umphrey shares our bold vision for elevating Houston Community College to new heights. She has a proven record of success as a leader in higher education and has a history of many accomplishments.”

Currently serving as Cuyahoga Community College’s (Tri-C) Vice President of Workforce Innovation and Dean for Information Technology, Dr. Umphrey is scheduled to begin her duties May 6.

At Tri-C, she provides vision and guidance in integrated academic and workforce programs for the IT Center of Excellence, increasing IT degree completion rates by seven percent.

One of Dr. Umphrey’s many accomplishments is establishing Bridge to Bachelor pathways to align college credits for Cleveland Metropolitan School District students between high school and four-year colleges.

“Tri-C is the connector and navigator,” says Dr. Umphrey. She also led the IT Center of Excellence textbook affordability initiative to utilize Open Educational Resources (OER) materials and established partnerships with the industry, including IBM and Apple. In addition, Dr. Umphrey was a member of the inaugural class of the Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence, a rigorous executive leadership program led by the Aspen Institute and the Stanford Educational Leadership Initiative.

Donna Burrell, Shannon Decena named Aldine’s top educators

Aldine ISD Board President Steve Mead and Members Dr. Viola M. Garcia and Rose Avalos, along with Aldine Education Foundation Board members and Deputy Superintendent Dr. Selina Chapa posed with the Aldine’s Principals of the Year and Teachers of the Year following the Educator of the Year Breakfast, held Friday, March 8 at the Hilton North Houston Hotel. Seated are, (l-r): Raymond Stubblefield, Aldine’s Elementary Principal of the Year, LaTonia Amerson, Aldine’s Secondary Principal of the Year, Shannon Decena, Aldine’s Secondary Teacher of the Year and Donna Burrell, Aldine’s Elementary Teacher of the Year.

Donna Burrell was named Aldine ISD’s Elementary Teacher of the Year and Shannon Decena was named the district’s Secondary Teacher of the Year during Aldine ISD’s Educator of the Year Breakfast, held Friday, March 8 at the Hilton North Houston Hotel.

The four Teacher of the Year finalists were Krystle Harvey of Dunn Elementary School, Kari Dierks of Smith Elementary School, Kevin Guenther of Davis Ninth Grade School and Jarrod Fredericks of Victory Early College High School.

In addition, the district’s Principal’s of the Year were also announced at the breakfast. Raymond Stubblefield of Smith Elementary School was named the Elementary Principal of the Year and LaTonia Amerson of Eisenhower Ninth Grade School was named the district’s Secondary Principal of the Year. Elementary finalists were LaDon Ward of Conley Elementary School, and Sandra Doria of Thompson Elementary School. Secondary finalists were Jeana Morrison-Adams of Hoffman Middle School and Dr. Phyliss Cormier of Victory Early College High School.

“As a school leader, it is my responsibility to model and support structures that enhance open and honest communications,” Stubblefield said about how he sees his role as a principal. “The structures of effective communications must also be based on mutual respect and trust. I model and share my learning and goals to foster a culture of openness.”

Amerson said she believes it is imperative to develop trust with her staff and stakeholders.

“Establishing trust is key in opening the lines of communication with stakeholders,” she said. “My leadership style promotes trust, ensures a healthy culture, creates and builds partnerships, fosters collaboration, and demands respect for all people. When conversations are open and honest, our work as educators can move forward.”

Burrell believes it’s imperative that students buy into their education.

“Students are more likely to succeed if they believe that they are valuable as individuals,” she said. “I believe that students must gain ownership of their education to accomplish this goal. My desire is to ensure each of my students experience love for learning, an excitement in discovering and a secure feeling of belonging in a classroom.”

Decena said she relishes challenging her students to develop a love for math.

“My role as a teacher is to introduce students to a higher level of mathematics, which often leads to a new way of thinking about the world,” she said. “I love to teach my kids about the mechanics behind everyday items. I show them how the topic they are learning now will be applied and built upon in the next class or grade.”

HB3 Education reform could add money to schools, lower property taxes

Dan Huberty excitedly explaining legislation related to school finance reform in Austin.

AUSTIN: State Rep. Dan Huberty, R., District 127, has ridden shotgun on a $9 billion school finance reform bill that is to send more state money to public schools and lower school property tax rates, according to lawmakers. To enact the plan, passage is required by both the House and the Senate.

“The Texas Plan” or House Bill 3, has had Huberty hopping around explaining to Republicans and Democrats that a $9 billion increase in the base funding for each student and compressing school districts’ property tax rates by 4 cents statewide, among other policy items is not only possible but necessary. Pre-K for full days for eligible students also benefits, and sending more money to school districts with higher concentrations of disadvantaged students. In his State of the State Address, Governor Abbott named three “emergency items,” they are teacher pay, school finance reform and property taxes reform.

Aldine Westfield Detention Basin Project updates

The East Aldine District joined Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) in presenting the Aldine Westfield Detention Basin project to the Greenbriar Townhomes HOA last month.

The community was informed about the timeline and general parameters of the project which is set to begin by late April 2019, and last for approximately a year.

The members of the Greenbriar Colony community, which is adjacent to the detention basin (across Aldine Westfield), were asked to stay in touch with both the East Aldine District and HCFCD for any updates on this and any other projects.

“Civic Saturdays” meeting in East Aldine

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo welcomes the citizens to the Civic Saturday workshop.

East Aldine’s new Town Center was the site of a “Civic Saturday” workshop last Saturday. Hundreds turned out to talk with Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, heads of other county departments, and civic leaders.

Judge Hidalgo has planned a series of 7 of these meetings, each with a specific topic, throughout the county. She wants citizen participation in county government, and wants to hear ideas to help shape the county’s future.

These events are day-long, where constituents bring their concerns, ideas and collaborate with leaders who put change in motion. The goal is to learn from and communicate with the community.

Laura Murillo, president of the Hispanic Chamber, addresses the audience. Others pictured are East Aldine’s Richard Cantu, State Rep. Armando Walle, Pct. 1 commissioner Rodney Ellis, and Aldine ISD board member Connie Esparza. (Photos by Marina Sugg & Gilbert Hoffman)

Meetings have been planned on the following subjects:

— Health & Environment

— Transportation, Infrastructure & Safety

— Resilience & Flood Mitigation

— Children & Early Education

— Economic Opportunity & Housing

— Criminal Justice

— Resilience & Flood Mitigation (repeat)

Harris County approves voting at any poll location

Houston, TX– March 7, 2019 – Texas Secretary of State David Whitley approved Harris County as one of six Texas counties with a population of more than 100,000 to participate in the Countywide Polling Place Program. With over 2 million registered voters, this makes Harris County the largest county in the country to implement this program. The state program allows eligible counties to establish non-precinct based Election Day Voting Centers.

“The voters of Harris County have made it clear that a Countywide Polling Place Program would have a positive impact on elections and I am confident that the transition to a Countywide Polling Place Program will be successful,” announced Harris County Clerk Dr. Diane Trautman.

Voters will now be able to vote anywhere in Harris County on Election Day, beginning with the May 4, 2019 Joint Election. All elections, including general, special, joint, primaries, and runoffs will be recommended to use the Countywide Polling Place Program.

Pine Village man dead in domestic dispute

ALDINE – A 29-year-old man was fatally shot during a dispute with his wife in Northeast Houston, authorities said.

Deputies said the victim and his wife were arguing over income tax at the home in the 12000 block of Wild Pine on Sunday, March 3, 2019 around 10 p.m. when things became physical. The wife took her 1-year-old child and went to a different room; her son stepped in. “A 15-year-old (son) got involved with it and some of his friends that were there got involved in it and at some point, the victim was shot,” said Sgt. Greg Pinkins.

Aldine Community meets the new Lone Star College NH/EA Dean

DEAN Dr. Luis Lucio

EAST ALDINE – The Aldine community turned out last Thursday night, to “Meet the Dean” of the new Lone Star College – North Harris/East Aldine campus. The meeting was held at the BakerRipley Reunion Hall at the Town Center.

The East Aldine District sponsored the meeting, one of its quarterly Civic Connections, Community Forums.

Dr. Luis Lucio is the new dean, and one of the first employees of the new Lone Star College East Aldine campus, now under construction and set to open for classes in the fall.

Dr. Lucio gave a very personal and candid talk about his life story, emphasizing that he was a native of Aldine and was pleased to be returning to his “roots.”

Lucio attended Aldine schools in his youth, and is a graduate of MacArthur High School. He took classes at Lone Star College, and has two degrees from Sam Houston State University. He also holds a Doctorate degree in educational leadership from the University of Houston.

Many in the community remembered him when he taught at Oleson Elementary, his first teaching job, or as principal at Carrol Academy, where the school under Lucio’s leadership won notice as Best in State for Scholastic Reading, and Distinctions in Mathematics from the TEA.

Lucio’s specialty is bilingual education, both for teachers and students. He has held a number of positions where this was a positive influence. These include a position as Adjunct Professor at the University of St. Thomas, and a senior recruiter for the Houston ISD school district.

Lucio’s goals for the new college in East Aldine are student excellence, proficiency in bilingual education, and student retention.

A part of Dr. Lucio’s presentation was a candid review of his own life story, and credit to his mother, a single parent, for guidance in his life decisions, and to the Aldine Grown Your Own Scholarship program for opening his eyes to the opportunity to go on to a college education. He explained all of this in a revealing and heartwarming narrative, to show other families and students that they have the potential to succeed from their start in life in Aldine. He also mentioned that his family was originally from the Rio Grand Valley, and Mexico.

Lucio also spoke about his experiences growing up in Aldine, including a tragic car accident.